CHILDREN OF VIOLENCE by Doris Lessing

CHILDREN OF VIOLENCE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Doris Lessing's glittering Golden Notebook (1962) was five books in one; Children of Violence is made up of the first two books of a prospective quintet. A more important checkpoint, the Martha of these two books bears a considerable resemblance to the Anna of the notebooks although she has not evolved that far as yet. Still one knows that Martha (still a young girl rebelling against her mother in the first volume- Martha Quest and a very young wife in the second, A Proper Marriage) will become one of Mrs. Lessing's free women. The prefatory experience here is largely emotional as Martha leaves home (an African farm in the '30's) to go up to town and get a job; as she mixes with the young blood at undowners at the Sport Club; as she has a first affair in which the man is almost irrelevant; as she makes a precipitous marriage and has an almost immediate and at first resented pregnancy; as her husband, Douglas, goes off to war is sent home only to find that Martha by now is dissatisfied with him and with the acceptance attitude of the older generation-- one must "just jog alone." She is last seen leaving Douglas and their child and heading towards a left of liberal group... Mrs. Lessing again traps her heroine in a much older conflict where Martha's emancipated convictions are handicapped not only by imposed social codes but biological betrayals. Her story is a consistently interesting audit of experience, and full of the emotional energy, integrity, and clear if sometimes wrongheaded intelligence which has validated and distinguished earlier books.
Pub Date: Nov. 11th, 1964
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1964




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